OUTRAGES BY THE MACLEAY BLACKS.
We are again obliged to invite the urgent attention of the Government to the deficiency of protection for the settlers in New England and the McLeay district who reside in the vicinity of, or in, the rugged tract which separates the two districts.
In addition to the notices of depredations committed by the McLeay blacks which have lately appeared in the Express, it is now our duty to place before the public another list of even more daring robberies and outrages than those already mentioned.
Since our last impression it was rumoured in Armidale that the McLeay blacks had driven off several hundred sheep from Hillgrove – Mr. Richard Hargrave’s station, about 15 miles from Armidale – and taken them down the Falls. We subsequently learned that they had swept off 500. On Mr Vincent Graham, the superintendent, receiving information of the robbery, he took two of the Hillgrove blacks with him, and started in pursuit. We understand that he found nearly all the sheep hemmed in a corner on the edge of the Falls, and that he heard a party of blacks talking at the bottom of a precipice. The descent being impracticable, he and the blacks in company, by making a long detour, and using great caution, arrived within twenty yards of the McLeay blacks before being observed by the latter, who, it appears, were busily engaged in roasting five sheep for their supper. By what means the culprits were routed we are not informed, but it is evident that they must have fled, as Mr. Graham and his blacks brought back with them a gun, powder, shot, ball, &c, left behind by the fugitives. With the exception of 12 missing, the sheep were recovered. It is almost unnecessary to remark that Mr. Graham’s conduct is deserving of the highest praise, alike for promptitude, bravery, and intelligence.
We have to add that a cow, the property of Mr. E. Hargrave, was shot recently, by the McLeay blacks, within 1½ mile of the Hernani head station, and close to the road to Grafton. Mr. E. Furber’s gunyah, within a mile of the same head station, was robbed a short time back of everything he had, by the same rascals ; and, about a week ago, they stole his axes, a blue shirt, and other articles, from where be was at work in the bush.
In January last, Mr. J. Perrett, of Tyringham, was shot at, by blacks, when about a mile from his house. It appears that the McLeay blacks, whose predatory incursions are numerous and sudden, have been for some time past a pest and continual source of apprehension to many settlers on the Grafton line. They have frequently been been with a large number of firearms, and we are informed that some of their guns have a bore of an inch in diameter, carrying an ounce bullet.
Those best fitted, from their knowledge of the country and the habits of the McLeay blacks, to form an accurate opinion as to a remedy, which ought to be immediately adopted, recommend that a party of native police should be stationed at the back of the Bald Hills station. In that locality there are heads of the Nambuccra, Bellinger, and Clarence Rivers, and dense scrubs, in which the blacks are prone to take refuge, and in the vicinity, and in which only an assailing force of blacks can be effective. in that direction, a few years ago, a shepherd, his wife, and their infant at the breast, were murdered in a most brutal manner by the blacks. Their bodies were then chopped up into small pieces, and left in a heap where they were found. Subsequently, another shepherd was murdered by the blacks.
On leaving the vicinity of Armidale, a short time ago, the strange blacks were seen to have plenty of firearms. One respectable settler on an adjoining creek states that he particularly observed one gin who was loaded with no fewer than three guns.